The federal government is being asked by both the public and private sector alike to broker access to each’s data holdings on more favourable terms.
Lake Macquarie Council, which is south of Newcastle in NSW, is among the public sector organisations to call on Canberra to “continue and expand resourcing its open data initiatives.”
“Local government would benefit from the release of additional spatial data at lower geographic scales, and non-government generated data,” the council said.
“For example, we are aware telco providers are offering highly granular big data services useful for strategy development and operations.
“As these services are currently cost-prohibitive for local government, we would welcome federal procurement and data-sharing initiatives to test the application of such data and integration with local government planning processes.”
Lake Macquarie said that local councils were coming to the table on open data by releasing sets via resources such as data.gov.au.
“Local government manages a wealth of data of benefit to state and federal government,
industry, academia and the wider community,” the council said.
“[We have] published 47 dynamic and/or static datasets. The initiative is still in the pilot
phase and further data will be published.”
While telcos were one party with in-demand data, it turns out they look at government data in roughly the same way.
“Government data and information is an asset that can contribute significantly to research
and be leveraged by the private sector,” Optus said.
“[The government] should consider significant focus on opening up its data where possible in a format that is easy to find and use.
“Government could also sponsor opportunities to gain greater insights from its data in collaboration with large corporates, universities and start-ups alike.”
Insurer IAG said it welcomed “the move towards open data” but was concerned with how such a scheme would operate.
“The fluid nature of data sharing between multiple networks creates the potential for IAG
customers and their communities to be vulnerable to adverse effects of using
technological ecosystems,” it said.
“Until the implications stemming from the interaction between multiple technologies is known, regulation of data usage should be deferred.”
IAG has previously called for greater resourcing of federal agencies that have large data holdings, noting extra rigour could make those datasets even more valuable to private sector users.
Fellow insurer Suncorp also backed any move at the federal level to increase data openness and availability.
“Greater access to public sector data would enable the private sector to drive innovative product development, more accurately implement risk-based pricing, and help educate customers about risk,” it said.
The government has proposed further action around open data as part of digital economy strategy currently under development.